I really don’t need to say anything. The cover says plenty. Go on, I know you just want to look at it for a bit. I’ll be right here when you’re done.
I Love This World posted about the cover to Mastermind, and made my day. Has any game ever had better packaging? I think not. Hanford said it all, when he looked over my shoulder as I was preparing that photo to post — “Ooh, Mastermind! That was a very adult game.” Yes, yes it was. It was a game that demanded the most refined demeanor your seven-year-old self could muster (which mostly involved one raised eyebrow and a lot of “hmmm… interesting”s and soft, knowing chuckles under one’s breath). I loved this game, but even to this day, I cannot tell if it was really the game I loved, or if it was the cover. Mastermind was mental dress-up in a box.
I mean, look at it! Clearly, those two are plotting world domination, and are taking a break from their evil schemes to play a little mind game with you. They will win. It is a foregone conclusion. But you’re happy to be their little plaything, because they are so urbane and suave, and maybe if you play along with them they’ll be nice to you after they take over the world, and MY GOD THEIR TABLE IS SO SHINY.
And that woman — is she just along for the ride? Is she playing him, and biding her time until she can cast him aside? Or has he warped her to his purposes? Hm, maybe you should try to save her. But you can hear her laughs mocking you even now, at the thought that she might need saving. Yes, we will play this game as a distraction, while you suss out what’s really going on here.
If you’d like the mystery broken (and by broken, I mean shattered into a thousand little pieces, never to be reconstructed), move along past the jump, and learn the story of the making of the Mastermind cover, and see a recreation of the photo with this same couple, 30 years on. (Hint: They didn’t succeed in taking over the world.)
Mastermind, 30 years later
And here they are. Meet Bill Woodward and Cecilia Masters (nee Fung).
The Mastermind box cover photo shoot took place in Leicester in 1972. Bill Woodward owned a chain of local hair salons, and was only chosen to sit for this photo when the original model they had booked didn’t show up. Cecilia Fung was a computer science student (rock on!) at the nearby University of Leicester, and was spotted on the street and approached for the Mastermind cover shoot.
Another concept for this photo included a cat to sit on Woodward’s lap, but the cat peed on him. Yes, when you look at this distinguished man sitting at the table, you can now know that his lap is secretly spoiled with cat pee.
The dress they had for Fung was way too big for her — they actually had to have another woman behind her, reaching up to cinch her dress for the photo (been there!) so that it wouldn’t just look like an ill-fitting sack.
This new photo on the right was taken when the two were reunited by the company that owns Mastermind, Invicta. Presumably, this photo shoot went a little more smoothly. But maybe they threw in a little cat piss, for old times’ sake.
Woodward has retired from the salon business. Fung, now named Cecilia Masters, developed a career in information systems for the banking world, and has her own banking software company. Hmmm… it’s entirely possible her cunning plans are still underway…